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New to cruising!!

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Hi everyone!

My husband and I are thinking about booking a cruise this summer! It will be our first time, and actually our first 'real' vacation together. We haven't booked yet, and I hope y'all can help me sort through some of my confusion before we put the money down!

After some research, we have decided on a Western Caribbean cruise on RC from Galveston going to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel- 7nights on the Rhapsody of the Seas. Anyone done this cruise before or one similar? Anyone gone on this ship? Any reviews??

Also, what happens if a hurricane comes at the time of our cruise? We are only able to go 8/19-8/26.

How does the drinking situation work? Do we pay as we go? Load a card w/ cash first? Pay at the end?

What about eating? My DH and I are NOT, I repeat NOT, formal people. My idea of a vacation is wearing shorts and a bikini- not slacks and dresses! Is this required in order to be fed???

Any info would be appreciated, I have so many questions I can't even type them all!

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Laurenlou - glad you found us.

I'll try to answer some of your questions and if I can't someone else will :biggrin:

We did the same itinerary on the Conquest - and loved it. Cozumel is one of our favourite ports. Grand Caymen is really beautiful - we did the swim with the stingrays - fabulous. Jamaica - just be sure to book an excursion - not a great place to tackle on your own.

A ships captain will always travel away frm a hurricane - you may have a change of port - but that can be an adventire too.

Drinks will go on your shipboard card - you can load it with cash up front or pay be credit card at the end of the cruise. You can check your itemized bill on your tv set.

The buffet is available most of the time - and you can pretty much wear what you want - just coverup the bathing suit :closedeyes:

The dining room will have formal nights - when you must dress up - but the other mights it will be "smart casual" - no jeans or shorts in the dining rooms. You should really go for the dining room experience - there is nothing like it. ANd there is room service as well - you get the food deleivered as part of your cruise package - just tip the person who brings it to your stateroom.

Keep asking questions - that's the only way to get the answers - and we are always willing to talk - er type - a lot lol.

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LaurenLou, sounds like Jenn has answered most of your questions. I am sure you will have a great time - we have been to those ports many times and are going again on our next cruise. I normally love the whole formal night experience, but last time hubby and I decided to forgo it and didn't even pack any dress clothes. The only night we ate in the formal dining room was the last night of the cruise, choosing to eat at the Lido deck buffet all the prior nights so we could stay in shorts and eat whenever we wanted. You can make your cruise whatever you want it to be and can always find food elsewhere if you decide not to get dressed for dinner. I am not sure about Royal Caribbean as all of our cruises have been on Carnival, but they have a 24 hr. pizzeria on all of their ships, and the pizza and calzones are really good. Welcome to Cruise Crazies and as Jenn said, feel free to ask all the questions you want.

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Hi LaurenLou.....congrats on deciding on a cruise! They are the BEST!!! I'll try to add to what the other ladies have already told you.

Your cruise fare includes all your meals and room service. Alcohol and "incidentals" (gifts, bingo cards, items from the store, etc.) you will put on your ship card (on Carnival it's called a Sail & Sign card...not sure what it's called on RC) You pay for everything at the end of the cruise. If you use a credit card to establish your account they will just bill your card. If you put cash on it you will visit the purser on the last day and settle your account. If you haven't pre-paid your tips they will go on your ship account also....at least they do on Carnival.

Now...about the dinner thing. Yes...you CAN eat at the Lido area and never have to get dressed up. But the food and the service in the dining room is fabulous!!! On non-formal nights (on a 7 night cruise you'll probably have 2 formal nights) a pair of nice pants or capris with a blouse or a sundress or something like that is fine. And a pair of slacks and shirt for the guys. On Carnival NICE jeans are also seen on both men and women on the non-formal nights. I would suggest taking a couple of outfits just in case you decide to try the dining room. We like to eat at the Lido for b-fast and lunch and then do the dining room at night. My opinion is to keep your options open. Take along a couple of outfits so that you can eat there if you decide. When at home I rarely dress up either. But when I cruise I enjoy getting dressed up for dinner. Then we do the show and then visit one of the bars. It's like a night out every night!!!

I haven't done the Caribbean so I can't help you with the ports.

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Great responses, Crazies.

Welcome aboard, LaurenLou. We're so glad that you found us. Please feel free to ask as many questions as you'd like. Our very knowledgeable members are very friendly and eager to respond. So, ask away. [/size]

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Welcome to the wonderful world of Cruising Laurenlou.

I really have nothing to add to what has already been said other than to tell you we are here for you thru the planning stages of your first cruise. The only bad question is the one you don't ask. I have not sailed on the Rhapsody yet but have been on many RC cruises and been to all the ports you mentioned.

Have fun planning your first cruise but beware - you will be hooked on cruising by the end of your first day. LOL

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Thank you all for the warm welcome!

I am already hooked, and I havent even booked the cruise yet! All day I was so excited about coming home from work and doing more research!!

So, what do you do on the boat all day when you're at sea? I'm imagining laying out by the pool w/ a fruity drink and looking out at the ocean-- is that about right? I may want to do rock climbing, go to the spa, etc. The casino at night, maybe catch a show... speaking of, how are the shows on RC?

How does everyone else spend their leisurely days out at sea??

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Laurenlou, we always book a balcony stateroom, so we love to spend our days at sea on the verandah, with a good book and a drink in hand. I usually hit the onboard shops at least once every sea day - always seem to see something that I missed the previous days. There are games going on during the day, but on Carnival, they are always the same and we have seen them several times, so usually forgo those. This cruise, we are traveling with our closest friends and they are in the cabin next to ours, so we plan to have the balcony wall seperating us, unlocked and opened, so I imagine we will spend lots of time just enjoying each other's company and watching the world float by. Even though we see them every cruise, we still love watching the flying fish so always keep an eye out for them also. Most afternoons on sea days seem to involve an in-room movie and a nap too.

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